Massive shark spotted lurking off Portugese beach sending panicked tourists fleeing water as children scream

BEACHGOERS fled from the water in a hurry after a shark lurked near a popular Portuguese beach.

Startled locals and holidaymakers at Praia Beach in the Atlantic resort city of Espinho ran away terrified and screamed “shark” as it got closer to the shore.

SolarpixThe shark forced beachgoers to flee the water[/caption]

SolarpixLifeguards rushed to the scene as panicked holidaymakers ran from the shark that lurked near the shore[/caption]

Children were seen gathering near the shoreline and shouting “shark” as lifeguards observed the creature.

A brave sun-seeker turned his back on it and walked slowly in knee-deep water towards the beach.

Despite the initial alarm, it soon disappeared after swimming back into deeper water.

Beachgoers are understood to have been allowed to take a dip to cool off once it had left the area.

Espinho, a city in the north of Portugal close to Porto which forms part of the Aveiro district, is known for fishing and for its perfect beaches.

Praia de Espinho beach is considered the finest beach in the area.

Brits who have spent time there give it fantastic reviews online, with one describing it as “great with a fantastic sunset.”

It comes as two sharks were spotted moving through shallow waters near the Costa Brava beach of Portbou on Sunday.

Dramatic footage shows how the blue sharks swam stomach-churningly close to people in the water yesterday.

The creatures’ surprise visit caused chaos as stunned swimmers cooling off from the Spanish sun raced to escape the danger.

Following the incident, Portbou mayor Gael Rodrigues issued a message of reassurance saying: “Portbou beach is completely safe.”

He added blue sharks are often spotted off beaches in the municipality because they are native to the area.

Blue sharks rarely bite humans but have been implicated in several biting incidents, four of which are said to have ended fatally.

A series of blue sharks have been sighted close to Spanish beaches this year.

In June, it seemed that sharks appeared to be swarming off Spain – but scientists were completely stumped as to what could be drawing them to the shore.

Five sharks came close to the shoreline in different parts of Spain within a period of just 10 days in June.

Dr Gavin Naylor, director of The Florida Program of Shark Research, said scientists at this stage simply cannot know what appears to drawing in the predatory fish.

But he did assure tourists that the area is not becoming a “dangerous hotspot” – and said the shark flurry could be a one-off event.

Blue sharks – which can grow up to 10ft long and weigh up to 200kg – appear to be behind most of the sightings in June.

And there was one “very unusual” sighting of a cow shark, a species that usually lives right at the bottom of the sea.

Dr Naylor said right now there is no explanation for the sightings – but speculated a mix of conditions such as water temperatures, food and changing shark nurseries could explain the encounters.

The first episode occurred on June 15 when bathers were filmed leaving the water in a hurry at Aguamarina beach in Orihuela south of Alicante.

The same day it emerged the same species of shark had been spotted inside Ciutadella Port in Menorca.

Another was filmed at a small cove in Ibiza called Calo des Moltons on June 24.

SolarpixA man dares to stay on the water close to the shark[/caption]

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